Rhode Island Home Buyers Tips for Avoiding Mistakes
From Mike Auger CMI, a Rhode Island Home Inspector

Set a Budget

Many home buyers in RI begin shopping without setting a budget. Before shopping, do your research and see what you can afford, if you cant make the mortgage payment, and you lose the house, you haven’t done yourself any favors. Also see what you are pre-qualified to borrow, no sense falling in love with a new house you can not get financing for.

Choose The Correct Mortgage for You

There are several ways to go about borrowing money for your new home. There’s the 203K (you borrow money for purchase and repair of home all at once). If you are a veteran there are VA loans. There is also the FHA loan where you have a small down payment for first time home buyers. There are also fixed and variable rates, points purchase, different length loans…Be sure to talk to a qualified mortgage broker for these first two steps.

Research the Community

Especially if you are new to Rhode Island or even the the area of RI, do some home work on the area. If you have children or plan to have children, check out the school district. Some areas can have large differences in taxes even though they are relatively close, also read the local paper and have a look to see what’s going on. Check the items that will impact your family lifestyle.

Know What Houses Cost

Be aware what homes in your budget generally sell for (not list for). If you don’t get this information and you like the first home you see, you could pay tens of thousands of dollars too much. A quality realtor should be able to have this information readily available for you.

Choose a Good Real Estate Agent

You want an agent to represent you as a buyer. Check with friends, family, co-workers. Good personal recommendations are a great tool. Use a full time realtor, generally there are loads of part time realtors that may not be up to par. You want an agent who does nothing else.

Take a Drive by the Place at Night or Off-Hours

If you drive by most neighborhoods on Sunday afternoon, it may be a drastic difference from Friday night. The neighborhood may not seem a inviting and you may think twice about moving your family there.

Buy a House That Suits its Neighborhood

Refrain from buying a big home in a neighborhood full of small ones. If you buy a home for $500, 000 and all the other homes in the area are $110,000 homes, it will likely lower your property value.

Get a Quality Rhode Island Home Inspection, and Read All Of It!

Know what you are buying. The only way to know is to pay for a quality home inspection. Hire a guy who knows what he’s doing (me) and you will not regret it. Don’t skimp here, if you price out inspectors and there are a couple significantly cheaper guys, stay clear. A good inspector is trained, and has experience and equipment to do a good job, to get those items at your disposal it does cost money. You can buy a home that has defects or needs work, just buy accordingly and know up front. Sellers (especially flippers) will try to polish up the place and a quick look does look good, but a thorough inspection can yield information vital to your best decision making.

Also with today’s large amount of bank owned properties, you never get a sellers disclosure either, skipping the RI home inspection here is a bad idea.

Know What Repairs Cost

Get an idea of the cost to repair deficiencies in your prospective home. Your home inspector may or may not help with this. I will do my best to get you in the area, if i can. Don’t take the realtors word for it, get good info on your own. It would not be good if you thought you purchased a home that needs a new roof and you think it costs about $3500 and you find out it costs $8500. Who has an extra $5000?

Remember Closing Costs

In Rhode Island, there can be as much as 5-6% of the home price due at closing, just be prepared. Your mortgage broker, if he’s good, will have you prepared for this in advance.